Ontario needs to add a million homes over the next decade to keep up with population growth and address the snowballing supply gap that is already resulting in young families struggling to find a home, according to new research.
It will be a “monumental challenge” to build so many homes, said report author Mike Moffatt, senior director of policy at the Smart Prosperity Institute, a think tank in Ottawa.
He estimates in a typical year that about 70,000 units of all types will be added, from detached houses to condominiums to custom-built rents to subsidized units. That number is set to rise to 100,000 to meet the expected 2.27 million more people who will live in Ontario by 2031.
“We have never built, at least in my life, at that level in Ontario,” Moffatt said in an interview.
“If we are not able to build these homes, there will be more people living in tents and being thrown out of parks. There are more families having to drive farther and farther away from Toronto, farther away from their jobs for to afford a home. More people are moving to other provinces. It is us who are losing talent from all over the world. ”
Family-friendly homes are needed
Moffatt estimates the province currently lacks nearly 65,000 homes, based on recent population growth and the number of homes actually built in recent years. He expects 911,000 more families to be formed over the next 10 years, according to Treasury Department projections.
A million homes would fill the current gap and ensure both existing and new families have a place to live, Moffatt said. Demand will be particularly intense for “family-friendly” homes, where young couples have room to raise one or more children — a trend that is already showing up, he noted.
“We have many 20 things in the province that are almost ready to start a family,” he said. “So we need to make sure the baby has a new home and that there is a place where all Ontarians can live.”
The way to solve the problem is not to increase urban sprawl, but rather build existing neighborhoods, especially along transit lines, he said. The more homes there are, the more affordable it will be.
The purpose of the report, funded by the Ontario Home Builders’ Association, is to encourage the city, province and federal government to recognize a problem and facilitate the necessary growth by legislating for increased density, Moffatt said.
The province says it is seeing more construction
The provincial government introduced an action plan for housing supply in 2019 to address the housing crisis, ministry spokeswoman Melissa Diakoumeas said. It is intended to accelerate and reduce the cost of development approvals and increase housing types and supply.
“After years of not keeping up with demographic growth, Ontario is now moving toward creating enough new homes for every new household,” she said.
Construction started on close to 80,000 homes in 2020 – more than any other year in the last decade, Diakoumeas said.
The University of Toronto plans Prof. Matti Siemiatycki also urges governments to get started quickly to facilitate more development of affordable, affordable rental housing and make living rooms to accommodate families — both of which are not being built nearly fast enough, he said.
“We are in a moment of great need for investment,” Siemiatycki said. “This crisis will not resolve itself, especially with the level of immigration and growth we are experiencing.”